Jo Robinson, author of the New York Times and National bestseller, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health (Little, Brown and Company, 2013), is on a crusade to get our nation to eat better and smarter. And Robinson takes the smarter label seriously; she researched over 3,000 scientific studies and compiled their take-away points into one easy-to-digest book.
Taking cues from Robinson’s radical way of selecting nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, we are excited to arm you with just a small fraction of her advice. The following guide details which varieties of produce may be the better buy nutrient-wise, according to excerpts from Eating on the Wild Side.
Try cherry tomatoes instead of larger yellow, green and red tomatoes.
When it comes to tomatoes, red-colored cherry, grape and currant tomatoes are the most flavorful and highest in lycopene. In general, the darker the color and the smaller the size, the more nutritious the tomato. Yellow and green tomatoes are lovely for novelty, but if you’re looking for nutrients, go red.
Try canned beans instead of dried beans.
Surprisingly, canned beans are even higher in antioxidants than home-cooked beans, making them among the most nutritious foods in the supermarket.
Try carrots with their tops still attached instead of baby carrots.
To get the most health benefits from orange carrots, choose whole fresh carrots. Baby carrots are actually misshapen mature carrots that have been whittled down to a smaller and more uniform size. The outer part that’s thrown away, food scientists have learned, is much more nutritious than the inner core that remains.
Try small yellow and red onions instead of large white onions.
The more pungent and smaller the onion, the better it is for you. Food chemists have discovered that smaller onions have less water and therefore a greater concentration of phytonutrients. Therefore, bold-tasting red and yellow onions offer the most health benefits.
Try red-leafed lettuce instead of iceberg lettuce.
The most nutritious and nutrient-rich lettuce cultivars are deeply colored and have a loose arrangement of greens. Purple, red and reddish brown lettuces have anthocyanins present, which are powerful antioxidants that show great promise in fighting cancer and lowering blood pressure. Pale-colored varieties that form a tight head (such as iceberg) are the least nutritious.
Try red grapes instead of green grapes.
Red, purple and black grapes are the best for your health. Thomspon seedless grapes (the green variety) have little to no anthocyanin, the phytonutrient that provides most of the health benefits of grapes. Muscadine and Concord grapes are especially high in anthocyanins, as are other red, purple, and black varieties.
Try a small, seedless watermelon instead of a honeydew melon.
Honeydew melons may be the sweetest, but they are also the least nutritious. Watermelons on the other hand, especially those with deep red flesh, are a good source of lycopene. As a rule, small seedless watermelons are more nutritious than the large heirloom varieties.
Want to learn more?
Eating on the Wild Side is now available in paperback on Amazon, Indie Bound, Powell’s and Barnes and Noble. The book is also available as an e-book (wherever e-books are sold) and in audio formats (both CD and downloadable). For more information on Jo Robinson, visit her online.